Taryn's Wreckreation Guide: Matt Koch's Olympic National Park Road Trip

July 15, 2016
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What’s up... Matt Koch here with a guest blog post cuz last weekend my girlfriend and got wrecked (see what I did there?) on an awesome road trip through the beautiful Olympic National Park & Forest!

It was roughly based on this because waterfalls are awesome, so we saw a lot of them. (We made a couple detours- opting to check out Cape Flattery instead of Third Beach, and hit The Big Rock on Lake Cushman to jump in some freezing cold water that didn’t actually feel that cold once you got in cuz the adrenaline from the jump overtakes your entire existence.)

We started out by not finding Spoon Creek Falls. Off to a smashing start. (Hey, you gotta get lost at least once on a road trip, right??) We continued to Merriman Falls and didn’t take any pictures cuz we were too busy making out in nature, which is way cooler than any waterfall picture, but not as helpful for blog posts where you want images to break up the monotony of text.

Anyways, we made it as close as possible to our next destination that night and camped at Bear Creek campground (no bear sightings unfortunately).

The next morning we made the drive up to the northwestern-most point in the continental US, Cape Flattery. This was recommended to us by Lance at Devilution Ink and was definitely a highlight. Watching the ocean repeatedly crash through the caves and over the barnacled rocks was chaotic and peaceful at the same time.

(When it comes to tattoo artists, you want someone you can trust; and Lance proved to be very trustworthy with this recommendation, so go see him next time you’re looking for some ink!)

 

After admiring all that coastal beauty it was back to chasing waterfalls and we headed east to Marymere Falls, right by the bluest lake I’ve ever seen, Lake Crescent.

On this trail you will also find the coolest tree I’ve ever seen.

Next up was Madison Falls, just a short drive down the 101.

There was a giant tree stump on the trail so I had to climb into it.

That night we stopped for dinner at Jig & Lure Fish Company in Port Angeles. It’s a small-town seafood joint with a great vibe. I liked how the prices on the menu already included tax and gratuity so there’s no math when you get your bill. Our server also told us about Devils Punchbowl, a 30+ foot cliff you can jump into Lake Crescent from, so double points for them. We considered doubling back to Lake Crescent to hit Devils Punchbowl right then and there, but ended up planning a return trip instead and just opted to find a place to camp for the night.

We found Seal Rock campground, just outside Brinnon. No seal sightings though… Two campgrounds with animals in the name and nothing to show for it! This turned out to be probably the most disappointing thing about the trip.

We woke up the next morning and hit the road for Rocky Brook Falls. This was the tallest, most powerful waterfall we saw and also had the shortest walk (I went barefoot cuz I’m conditioning my feet for barefoot hiking!)

The last waterfall we hit was a short drive to Murhut Falls. Two tiers and 130 feet of awesome natural beauty.

Last but not least was the grand finale, jumping off The Big Rock into a frigid Lake Cushman. It’s impossible to miss, right off the 119 and it’s SO FUN! There’s a few different spots to jump, ranging from 15-20 feet. The video below is off the 15 foot side, tough to get a good shot of the 20 foot one cuz it’s directly off the back of the rock. I gotta give props to my girlfriend here. She’s terrified of heights and had never jumped off something like that before, but did it anyway and said it was totally worth it!

All that adventuring made us hungry so we stopped at Bob’s Tavern in Shelton (as recommended by a Rockaholic named Jacob on Facebook- thanks dude!) for some of the BEST fried chicken I’ve ever had in my life. So there’s another recommendation for you.

Every excellent road trip needs an excellent soundtrack and that was provided mostly by two awesome local bands’ upcoming releases (I got them early cuz… job perks). Klover Jane’s Sporadic Insanity EP is some full-throttle, no-frills, good old-fashioned rock n roll which comes out September 24th and you can pre-order here.

Ten Miles Wide’s “The Gross” is an epic, haunting, beautiful, psychedelic journey that really fit the lush greenery, gray skies, and rain we were driving through. It can be previewed on the Big Rock video above, and in the recap video below. It comes out this Saturday at Neumos! I don’t know how to order it online but I’m sure that info will be on their Facebook shortly.

It was an epic weekend of PNW beauty. I think everyone should get outside and explore more, and this road trip (or anywhere in the Olympics from what I saw, for that matter) is a great place to start!

Happy adventuring!

-Matt Koch